News & Views December 16

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6
Life Lesson Classes
Adult "Welcome" Class (The Christmas Story from Luke) - 8:45 A.M. - Rooms 114-115
Connecting Point
9:30 A.M. - Dining Room
10:00 A.M. -  Family Center Gym/Online
Pastor Mark: ADVENT 4--Grace Upon Grace!
Read ahead - John 1:4-18; Lamentations 3:19-24
NLC Kids
10:00 A.M. - Rooms 101,103

GRAB & GO Meals
Served following worship at 11:00 A.M.

The Week Ahead

December 16 - Dinuba Community Task Force, 4 P.M., NLC Dining Room
December 17 - Toy/Food Drive Distribution, 3-5 P.M. Jefferson Elementary. Call Cece or Laurel for times for Monson/Sultana and Grandview Elementary distribution.
December 19 - Grab & Go Tamale Meal, 11 A.M. -12 noon after church
December 21 - Men's Bible Study on Judges, 6-7 A.M. - NLC Dining Room
December 23 - Choir Rehearsal, Thursday, 6:00 P.M. - Family Center stage
December 24 - Christmas Eve Service, 5 P.M. - Family Center
December 26 - Christmas Worship, 10 A.M. - Family Center

Grace On Top of Grace

I've been struck, lately, by surprises of God's grace. They've come when I didn't expect them, and they've come from people and into situations that I wasn't anticipating. These surprises of God's grace shouldn't be surprises at all since God's mercies to us are new every morning. But it's true. God's mercies are new every morning, and in fact, they're new every moment! As John says in 1:16, "...out of the fullness of Christ we have received grace upon grace." Grace on top of grace already given.

Our toy and food drives are a good example. New Life Community has made a shift over the last year and a half to prioritize transformational community ministries. We've directed outward to the people of Dinuba in order to offer them new life in Jesus. We are extending to them the very grace God has given us in Jesus. What I didn't expect was that the community of Dinuba would be so receptive and that the community would add their gifts of grace to ours!
  • Armando Villareal, director of Dinuba's Family Resource Center and Parenting Network, a non-profit organization in the former KRDU building on Alta, let us know he would prepare 50 boxes of food for the families we're serving at Jefferson Elementary. And then he called back when he heard we were adding Grandview School and said they'd prepare 50 more!
  • Heathe Jones, CEO of Dinuba Chamber of Commerce, planned the first Breakfast with the Grinch event as a fun holiday treat for families. She hosted it at New Life Community and then donated all the toys that were collected to our toy drive for Grandview and Monson-Sultana, with an offer to purchase more from the proceeds!
  • The Dinuba Lions Club and Veronica and Ron from Valley Strong Credit Union showed up to help at the breakfast. Veronica and Ron have already given themselves to help us with our Faith & Finances class, and provided guidance to help a family finish off a payday loan.
  • When the Holiday Inn Express and Dinuba Tire asked the Chamber about toy drives, they were directed to New Life Community. 
  • And Cece tells me that many of us at NLC are signed on to help distribute the gifts and food.

There are two student groups at Dinuba High School that have been contributing to our efforts at New Life Community. Students from both clubs have joined New Life Community in serving Dinuba through our Vacation Bible School, Family Fun Night, Grab & Go meal distribution, and now the toy and food drive distribution. These are wonderful students who feel at home serving at NLC! TJ Celaya is a faculty sponsor for both groups and coordinates their help at NLC.
  • HOSA is the future health professional student organization at Dinuba High School. These students are training and studying to serve communities in healthcare-related fields. 
  • The NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Health) club students raise awareness through events and outreach about mental health, especially for their peers. Students learn how to create safe places for their peers and others. 

I could write more about the grace God has brought to New Life Community as we've been committed to passing God's grace to others. Each person and situation is a surprise. It's grace upon grace.
  • Donations and referrals for our Home Resource Center.
  • Gifts and cooks and food and sponsors for our Grab & Go meals, including 500 tamales made by friends of Armando Zamora and Mati Ochoa, new members of NLC for this Sunday.
  • Free Tutti-Frutti coupons for our NLC Kids' ministries from Mr. Siddhu at Circle K.
  • Brick & Stone Coffee, a new business in downtown Dinuba, is excited about providing Sunday morning coffee at our Connecting Point ministry. 

One of the truly surprising moments of grace has come through the streaming of our worship services at Palm Village Retirement Community. It never fails that when I visit at Palm Village someone mentions our service and how grateful they are to watch it. I guess I might expect to hear such a comment from some of our NLC members who live at Palm Village and watch the service there. But what surprises me are those who attend NLC's streaming service who haven't been members at NLC.
  • Vernon and Genevieve Janzen tell me whenever I see them that they attend the 6 P.M. showing of our service each Sunday, and pray for us with joy and enthusiasm for our mission. Vernon has encouraged others at Palm Village to attend and support us.
  • Gary Gerbrandt stopped me in the hallway at Palm Village this week to encourage me and us at NLC in our mission of transforming lives through Jesus in Dinuba. He seemed to know all about our efforts and ministries and even the cost of turning ourselves outward to reach people for Jesus. I couldn't stop the tears welling up in my eyes. God's grace was simply flooding on top of grace already given, like an overflowing cup.

It seems this blog post is overflowing, too, way past its normal length! Let me close with this: God's grace is the fuel we need to accomplish the work he's given us to do. Take some time this season to consider all his grace poured out into and over your life. Isn't it true that out of Jesus' fullness you have received grace upon grace? Rejoice and pass it along without fear of running out. There is more from God through Jesus than we'll ever know!
  • Pray for the local children and families who will be receiving gifts and food boxes this Christmas. Pray that the message of salvation will come through clearly through these gifts of love, through our worship services and classes. Pray that people will put their trust in Jesus.
  • Pray over those you intend to invite to the Christmas Eve service, that they would come and their hearts open to Jesus.
  • Praise the Lord for 33 children who accepted Jesus as their Savior at the Good News Club at Jefferson this year. Pick up a prayer card with a child's name and use it as a reminder to pray for their new life in Christ to take root and grow.
  • Pray for those currently in skilled nursing: Barbara Friesen, Chris Holmen, Marilyn Chappell, Annie Enns, and Vicky Barkman. Pray also for those recuperating from recent surgery or illness: Lois Brittel, Lyubov Heinrich's mother, JR Southard.
  • Remember family and friends who are dealing with health concerns, including Kelly Friesen's sister-in-law Dana, Galen Wiest, Brian Smith, and Ron Brown's sister Bonnie.
  • Glen Zimmerman is waiting to regain strength before continuing chemo treatments for  his multiple myeloma.
  • Ask God's blessing and strength for missionaries. John & Geri are with family in Germany. Otto & Marjorie have returned to Dinuba! Ruddy & Cristina are meeting the needs of homeless in San Francisco. Bruce & Laurel and the entire Youth For Christ team will be ministering to youth on winter break. Johnny & Denise are training pastors in Thailand.
  • Pray for Chinoh Aquino in USAF training in Texas, and Jessica and the family here.
  • Many families in the U.S. and around the world are struggling with loss from tornados in the Midwest, COVID-19, and separation due to travel restrictions. 

Our Giving

Received Last Week (12/12):........$6,650
Received this year to date:......$137,324
    Missions Giving to date:..........$29,189
Budget to Date: …………...…......$127,791
Budget Goal: …………..…............$443,008
Needed Weekly: ……….…..…......…$8,519

COVID-19 Notice

Per CA Department of Health mandate, "masks are to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccination status, for the next four weeks".
(December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022)

Mark Isaac

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